The cost-effectiveness of total joint arthroplasty: a systematic review of published literature

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Oct;26(5):649-58. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2012.07.013.


Objective: To summarise the state of the literature evaluating the cost-effectiveness of elective total hip and knee arthroplasty (THA and TKA).

Methods: We conducted a systematic review of published cost-effectiveness analyses of THA and TKA. To limit our search to high-quality published papers, we selected those papers included in the Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry (created by the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health at Tufts University) and augmented the search with papers listed in PubMed. The data abstracted included incremental cost-effectiveness ratios, perspective of the analysis, time frame, sensitivity analyses conducted, and utility assessment. All cost-effectiveness ratios were converted to 2011 USD.

Results: Seven studies presenting cost-effectiveness ratios for TKA and six studies for THA were included in our review. All economic evaluations of TKA were published between 2006 and 2012. By contrast, THA studies were published between 1996 and 2008. Out of the 13 studies evaluated in this review, four were from the societal perspective and eight were from the payer perspective. Five studies spanned the lifetime horizon. Of the selected studies, six used probabilistic sensitivity analysis to address uncertainty in data parameters. Both procedures have been shown to be highly cost-effective from the societal perspective over the entire lifespan.

Conclusion: THA and TKA have been found to be highly cost-effective in a number of high-quality studies. Further analyses are needed on the cost-effectiveness of alternative surgical options, particularly osteotomy. Future economic evaluations should address the expanding indications of THA and TKA to younger, more physically active individuals.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / economics*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans